“Man’s faith may fail him sometimes, but God’s faithfulness never fails him. (Psalm 89:33) God will not suffer his faithfulness to fail.” –William Greenhill
It seems like just yesterday that I was huddled in the basement of my house in Independence surrounded by cans of tuna fish, bottled water, and a variety of weapons. Has it really been twenty years since Y2K? Quite a bit happens in a person’s life over the course of two decades. Jacob, the son of Isaac, had experienced tremendous change in the twenty-year period that he spent with his uncle Laban. He knew the pain of family squabbles and deceitfulness. Laban had worked to deceive him and in effect, doubled the amount of time that Jacob had to serve him. Jacob knew the power of love as well. Curious? See Genesis 29:20. Jacob’s family grew tremendously as Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah, and finally, Rachel gave birth to sons and a daughter. Do you remember the name of Leah’s daughter? See Genesis 30:21. God prospered Laban through Jacob and had prospered Jacob as well. Jacob had attempted a little bit of scheming too. What has your last twenty years been like? Can you connect with Jacob? Have you seen your fair share of family difficulties? Has the Lord blessed you with sons and daughters?
At the end of about twenty years and with the relationships between Laban and his sons and Jacob really beginning to sour, the Lord instructed Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.’” (Gen. 31:3) It is at this point in the narrative that Jacob speaks a word of testimony to his two wives, “So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was and said to them, ‘I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. You know that I have served your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me.” (Genesis 31:4-7) Jacob does not deny the treachery of Laban. He does not gloss over the injustices which he has suffered over the course of many years. He noted the changing nature of the relationship and the friction that was developing between himself and the sons of Laban. However, what stands at the heart of his testimony is the consistent presence and favor of the Lord in his life, “the God of my father has been with me.” And Jacob finds comfort in the sovereignty of God when he declares that “God did not permit him to harm me.”
Wow! What a testimony! He must have communicated the gracious and sovereign activity of God to his children as well. Why do I say that? Because years later, Jacob’s son, Joseph, would stand before his brothers and make a powerful declaration regarding the evil activity of his brothers (remember they sold Joseph into slavery), “But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:19-20) As you think about your life and all that you have experienced over the past twenty years, may you be quick to recall the Lord’s gracious, sovereign, and faithful activity. Have a blessed week and we will see you on Sunday.
Your friend and servant in the concerns of your soul,